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Old 16th June 2009, 23:55   #1
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Default Why was the Sumo Grande not a hit?

Setting aside the ugly rear end, I thought the Sumo Grande would be a success story. It had good road presence, good and spacious interiors, good power train etc. Given that people lapped up the older Sumo in Large numbers, I am surprised at the luke warm response in the market place to the Sumo Grande.

I'm interested in what other auto fans think about this and what could Tata have done differently.
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Old 17th June 2009, 00:09   #2
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Look at it this way. Who could be the possible clients for this vehicle? I believe two categories of them,

* Those who are on a lookout for people carriers. These are mostly cab owners and sometimes people who have a big family and want to lug them all together.
* Those who have a yen for tall SUVish kind of vehicles. They are also enthusiasts on most occassions.

Barring the above two class of people most others would rather buy a sedan. Now in the above two categories take the first one. Cab owners are people who would like to have rugged, low maintenance vehicles which can take all the beatings without much complain and still keep running. In other words better ROI. For this class of people the plain old Sumo is what the doctor prescribed. They were also the ones who were responsible for making Sumo a hit. As you will find every 9 out of the 10 Sumos are owned by the cabbies. They can not be bothered with chic beige interiors or a turbo-charged 120 hp Dicor engine. All that complexity translates into higher maintenance cost for the cabbies and their ways of handling vehicles.

Now there are some people who have a huge family and want to lug them together at a low cost. For them also the regular Sumos fit the bill (that 1 out of the 10 figure) and to some extent the Used car market supplied Qualises.

That leaves you with the enthusiasts who are looking for an SUVish kind of vehicle at a comparatively low cost. Unfortunately the Sumo brand with its boxy look, leaf spring suspensions etc. will never fit that category. Also, if they could spend something close to 7 lakhs on a Grande they would rather stretch a little more and look into the entry level Safari class (and now Scorpio as well).

Ulimately the Grande ended up in the no man's land. It got killed mainly due to its muddled brand positioning.
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Old 17th June 2009, 00:15   #3
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I think the Sumo was a great package on paper but suffered heavily in execution. The quality of the interiors is especially appalling, somehow the progress made by the Vista and the upgraded Safari was missing in the Sumo Grande.
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Old 17th June 2009, 00:20   #4
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Zappo has put it accurately.
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Old 17th June 2009, 00:26   #5
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The placement of the vehicle is wrong. Those who want a cab people mover will go in for Sumo/Tavera. Those who want it for personal use have option of either Sumo, higher end Tavera, Scorpio and Safari.

So Grande ended up as a confused product. How many sumo owners know the benefit if longer wheelbase or stiffer frame ? Almost none, and they also had Tavera that was also quite tough build along with good FE and reasonably good performance.
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Old 17th June 2009, 00:52   #6
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In my opinion, Tata wanted to offer one more product in the same market, something like what Maruti does, like offer three hatchbacks in a close price range. Unfortunately, it didn't work in the Grande's case.

You have the Victa below the Grande and the Safari above it.

Sumo's cabbie customers can still buy the Victa. And Safari has its own market.

The close price range between the Grande and Safari (add Scorpio here) didn't help the Grande at all.

There is a 60k difference b/w the Grande Ex & Safari Lx. And a 15k difference b/w the Grande ex and the Scorpio Lx. Safari, Scorpio.. both much better machines, and the price difference isn't much in terms of EMIs.

See the ex-showroom prices (Delhi) below:

Grande:
Grande LX Rs. 6,75,942
Grande EX Rs. 7,11,977
Grande GX Rs. 7,68,208

Safari (4x2):
Safari DICOR 2.2 LX Rs. 770,761

Scorpio:
Mahindra Scorpio - LX 725034

(Prices taken from the respective official websites)
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Old 17th June 2009, 00:52   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
The placement of the vehicle is wrong. Those who want a cab people mover will go in for Sumo/Tavera. Those who want it for personal use have option of either Sumo, higher end Tavera, Scorpio and Safari.

So Grande ended up as a confused product. How many sumo owners know the benefit if longer wheelbase or stiffer frame ? Almost none, and they also had Tavera that was also quite tough build along with good FE and reasonably good performance.
I would differ on the positioning of Grande.

It has been positioned in the segment for up-marketish people carriers like Xylo and Innova with similar features. I guess Grande was at a loss due to nomenclature. As soon as one hears Sumo, it is directly related to its cousin. Therefore, most up-market buyers did not touch the car thinking it was just a botox job to taxi Sumo whereas all the taxi owners did not want the maintenance attached with up-market feel.

IMO, had the car been named just GRANDE, the story could have been different for it is one of the most spacious UV's currently in market for the price and features.
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Old 17th June 2009, 02:45   #8
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two options.

One.
redesign some iddbits here and there. reduce the price for base model and cut the upmarket features and peg it against Innova, Xylo and Tavera.

Two
Redesign the bits to make it look less boxy. Market it as the cheaper safari for those who cant shell out 10lacs. Can kill Scorpio from the bottom while Safari tackles the top. An extremely strong Marketing campaign will be needed for this.

I like the Sumo Grande but the interior is what turns many down.
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Old 17th June 2009, 03:10   #9
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The things that I didn't like:

1. The rear is to bulbous. Guess this is too expensive to fix.
2. Put coil springs at the back for softer ride.
3. Offer 4WD option.

If these changes are made, I would consider it. But point 1 is very unlikely given the cost of re-tooling.
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Old 17th June 2009, 07:24   #10
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I agree with Devarshi .. I was eagerly watching the vehicle and the look was not that bad .. Was very impressed with the features shown in the website but when I saw this vehicle I felt the interiors were just awful ...

I guess bad interiors was one of the reason for the low selling rates of Sumo Grande.
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Old 17th June 2009, 08:09   #11
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Its purely due to brand dilution. This brand is strongly associated with cabs. Moreover, it is in between two segements - Sumo and Safari. Apart from that you have Innova and Scorpio.

Please remember that M&M did not come out with a white color Scorpio for a long time just to ensure that it does not face the same fate as Sumo or Tavera. Even now, they have something called Ivory, but not white.
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Old 17th June 2009, 08:40   #12
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Some of the reasons i think are:

1) Price: The vehicle is too high for its tagget segment, and thus fails to be value for money.

2) Name/Image : The name SUMO seems to have done this vehicle more good than bad. The earlier sumo had an out and out taxi image, and thus, no private buyer wanted a sumo. The same thing happened to the Vista too. The idiots at tata seem to think that their cars have too much brand value!

3) looks: The car looks out of proportion and the rear looks like somebody got bored when they were designing it and stopped midway. also, the interiors are quite tacky.
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Old 17th June 2009, 10:22   #13
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This of it this way. Company X sells and autorick called A
Then it launches a passenger car, and names it A
This is what tata did.
The same mistake as the Indica-Vista.

Moreover, as somebody already mentioned, for people out for macho looks etc., Scorpio and Safari are just 2500/month away atmost. Why buy the Grande.
Taxi guy will not touch a complex vehicle from Tata stable
Moreover competition(Mahindra Xylo) is a real mouthwatering package
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Old 17th June 2009, 10:34   #14
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I think the marketing department of TML needs to be fired for Grande and Vista fiasco.

I took extensive test drives of Grande , Scorpio and Safari, Grande scored good on all fronts except.

1. Sumo tag.
2. Thick C pillors and reduced visibility of rear wind shiel.
3. Leaf Suspension , This is not a problem if just compared with Sumo or Scorpio but the pricing of Grande to close to Safari and a potential buyer is bound to take back to back TD of Safari and Grande and Grande will be outrightly rejected.
If there was no Safari the ride quality comparison would have been with only Scorpio.

So my rating was Safari > Grande > Scorpio ( for base models )

It is now too late to salvage the brand , All they can do is to modify the rear and do some face lifting and reintroduce with entirely new brand afte a gap of 6 months.
Yes the costs are going to be huge.
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Old 17th June 2009, 10:45   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devarshi84 View Post
two options.

One.
redesign some iddbits here and there. reduce the price for base model and cut the upmarket features and peg it against Innova, Xylo and Tavera.

They have already launched the Sumo Grande "Turbo" at an introductory offer of 5.6 Lakhs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by devarshi84 View Post
Two
Redesign the bits to make it look less boxy. Market it as the cheaper safari for those who cant shell out 10lacs. Can kill Scorpio from the bottom while Safari tackles the top. An extremely strong Marketing campaign will be needed for this.

I like the Sumo Grande but the interior is what turns many down.
+1. Interiors are its weakest point.
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